A look back on Chancellor Loftin's time at Mizzou so far

3 years 1 month 2 days ago Thursday, September 18 2014 Sep 18, 2014 Thursday, September 18, 2014 5:52:00 PM CDT September 18, 2014 in News
By: Rachel Wittel, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - As part of the University of Missouri's 175th Anniversary, the school celebrated new Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin's inauguration Thursday.

Loftin took office eight months ago and hardly had time to blink before addressing serious university matters.

In less than two weeks at MU, Loftin faced investigations regarding the way university officials handled allegations of the sexual assault of former MU swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who committed suicide in 2011. 

The chancellor and the Missouri Board of Curators hired the Dowd Bennett Law Firm from St. Louis to look into the case. He spoke with the media about his first few days in office February 14.

"I have only one direction to give, and that's to tell the truth," Loftin said.

Just days after, former MU defensive lineman Michael Sam announced he's gay, which sparked national attention for Sam, who was expected to become the first openly gay NFL player.

Loftin responded as he often does with students, faculty and the Columbia community: through Twitter.

Tragedy struck February 22, still the first month of Loftin's term, as a walkway at University Village Apartments collapsed, killing Columbia firefighter Lt. Bruce Britt.

In an exclusive interview in March, Loftin addressed Britt's death and the investigations following the accident. 

"Obviously losing a community leader, a firefighter was a really, really hard thing for not just his family, but also the firefighters here in Columbia and the entire community and we're really sympathetic to all the things that went into that," Loftin said.

MU limited information released during this time regarding University Village inspections and prior concerns, so KOMU 8 News conducted its own investigation. KOMU 8 obtained more than one thousand pages of records to see whether the accident was preventable in order to answer the many questions surrounding the incident. 

The university announced in July that Marschel Wrecking, out of Fenton, near St. Louis, would demolish the apartment complex later that month.

Loftin said there are plans for a new Student Parent Center following the demolition, but it is unclear when and where this center will be built.

This school year did not give the chancellor a break either. As two more former MU athletes went public with sexual assault charges against ex-running back Derrick Washington, Loftin again said the university should have investigated further. 

In August, Loftin followed through with his vow for change amid all the sexual assault reports, implementing new Title IX policies to strengthen sexual harassment reporting procedures. Click here for the full list of policy changes. 

The chancellor was fully installed in office at the Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia.

 

 

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